Lighting Your Subject Underwater in a Temperate Paradise

Sea Lemon

So I’ve fallen in love all over again with green, cooler, wavier waters as some of you may already have guessed from my Facebook stories.

But how do you go about bringing out the best of your greener subjects underwater? Do you choose video lights, torches or strobes and is there really an advantage to using any of these over shooting in natural light?

Over the next couple of weeks, I thought I’d explore different ideas under the wonderful world of lights, choosing them, using them and what kind you need for what subject.

The one thing that temperature water often brings with it depending on the time of year are particles and lots of them.

So today I thought I’d focus on close-up subjects and how to get the best images using an external light.

Irish Lord

All lights, whether torches, video lights or strobes have a “beam of light” measured in degrees. Basically the higher the number the wider the beam and the more powerful the output of light. Simply put, this means that larger subjects can be lit without shadows forming around the edge of them (don’t forget this can add to creativity though – more on that will be explored later).

Even a small, affordable torch can work wonders with small, slow moving subjects. Simply angle your torch at a 90 degree angle, and see the textures and detail of your subject come to life.

Remember to choose a low ISO snd a small aperture to avoid over-exposure and create rich, punchy colours.

If you’re photographing shyer subjects, don’t forget to be mindful of their eyes. The last thing any Photographer should do is stress out an animal, so always remember to try to have the correct settings ready to grab that shot correctly.

Shy crab hiding in soft coral, Alaska

Macro photography can be so rewarding and so much colour can be found in our colder climes – it’s all a question of more practice and patience to get those amazing shots.

I’ll chat more about equipment this week but in the meantime, if you need any help with settings, just let me know.

Happy Bubbles everyone 😊

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